Rainbow Six Siege’s Cutest Crossover Is Also Arknights’ Most Brutal

Rainbow Six Siege’s Cutest Crossover Is Also Arknights’ Most Brutal
Illustration: Yostar

I’m not a huge fan of slugs to begin with, but the ones in the Rainbow Six event are going to turn me into the Joker.

The crossover event between mobile game Arknights and Rainbow Six Siege, Originium Dust, ends in a day, and I still haven’t cleared the main questline. Arknights can be a notoriously difficult real-time strategy game, so I was used to struggling during the main story quests. But I didn’t expect the mobile developers to shove the hardest level into a promotional crossover event.

The collab is, overall, shockingly well done. Arknights is a mobile tower defence game with Gacha elements. Think Plants vs. Zombies, except the plants are beautifully designed anime characters sporting futuristic street fashion and superpowered enemy rebels that fight through military means. Meanwhile, Rainbow Six Siege is a first-person shooter where players conduct counter-terrorism operations.

So while the realistic visual style of Rainbow Six might look a little awkward next to the colourful designs in Arknights, their stories are similar enough for the Siege operators to feel like natural participants in the event.

Upon starting the crossover event, I was immediately introduced to Rainbow Six operators such as Ash, Tachanka, Blitz, and Frost. Although they were implemented into the game as playable operators, their designs were notably muted compared to most of Arknights’ fashionable cast. And while most of the cast speaks Japanese in this Chinese mobile game, the Rainbow Six operators are only voiced in English. Despite the differences in aesthetics, origin, and genre, Arknights was able to seamlessly integrate the Rainbow Six characters into the existing game by making them feel like Arknights operates gameplay-wise. The Siege characters are permanent operators that will be useful long after the event ends.

Which is why it was so frustrating that the last main level of the event is so damn difficult. Arknights events typically have two stages: the main levels and the bonus levels. Not being able to complete this stage locks me out of half the rewards in the event. Yet here I am, struggling helplessly against the waves of Originiutant tumours. Two of these slug-like creatures appear after each enemy is killed, and the boss on this level will spawn them periodically. They are incredibly annoying in a tower defence game like Arknights, where powerful characters on your side don’t matter if they can’t prevent every enemy from sneaking past the player’s defences.

YouTubers have cleared this event with low-rarity characters, so I’ve seen that it’s possible with my own eyes. But this level still requires tons of micromanagement. If I let even one tumour slug slip through my defences, then I can’t get the coveted perfect clear. That’s on top of the boss’ invulnerability stage and its periodic map-wide attack.

Prolific Arknights strategist KyoStinV said “this is officially my most hated stage,” at which point I knew that I was screwed. It’s not just him, either. Several redditors have entirely failed to clear the stage. And the players who managed a perfect clear note that auto-play, which uses the game’s AI to replicate the same choices to farm extra resources, will often fail. The fact that doing the same thing still isn’t a guarantee for success makes beating the level feel a lot more like luck than smart tactical decisions.

Screenshot: Yostar / Kotaku Screenshot: Yostar / Kotaku

Many successful players mentioned bringing in Surtr, the most powerful Guard operator in Arknights. But this strategy isn’t always possible in a Gacha game, as Surtr is an extremely rare six-star character. Players can borrow characters from their friends, but that requires knowing other players who have the same low chances of getting a rare character. And none of my friends have Surtr at her maximum level.

Originium Dust is a well-implemented collaboration. It’s just a shame that it happened while the Arknights developers decided to design one of the hardest levels in the entire game.

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